Aurora Rohrer, a student, dancer, and journalist at Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyoming, died at Wyoming Medical Center from injuries sustained in a car crash just before 9 AM, Saturday, February 4, on US Route 20/26 near the town of Hiland, about 56 miles west of Casper, her hometown, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol. She was 16.
She was the passenger in a Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV driven by another 16-year-old girl. The girls were heading westbound near mile post 57.5 on this two-lane highway in slick road conditions, typical for February in Wyoming, and they reportedly attempted to pass another westbound vehicle before a hill crest in a no-passing zone.
The driver lost control, and the SUV spun into the eastbound lane, where a GMC Sierra pickup towing a horse trailer was just coming over the hill. The driver of the pickup tried to avoid a crash but was unable to do so, police said, resulting in a T-bone collision with the SUV.
Four of the five people injured in the crash were transported by ambulance to the hospital, where they were treated and released. Aurora, however, was transported by helicopter and died shortly after arriving at the hospital. Police have not released the name of the driver, pending an investigation into an illegal passing maneuver and a speed too fast for conditions.
Aurora was remembered in an obituary written by her older sister, Brianna, and published in the Kelly Kall, the student newspaper at Casper College.
“Aurora was genuine and selfless—always looking out for the needs of others,” Brianna wrote. “She had an ability to know just what to say to lighten the mood in the room. She loved to talk and laugh, and was known to describe every last detail of her day; not stopping until everyone was in tears, laughing from how she saw life.”
As such, she didn’t take life or herself too seriously, her sister wrote, saying she “naturally could put things into perspective and did not dwell on mistakes. Somehow she knew exactly what to do. Aurora was adventurous and never shied away from challenges, but remained cautious at the same time—a perfect mix of being smart and having fun.”
Part of that was the dedication of showing up at a 5:30 AM dance practice every day. Just before the accident, her dance coach said she had earned a spot on the dance team for the upcoming state competition. As with many things, her approach to dancing was marked by a conquering spirit: “I’m going to be afraid of a lot of things I want to do in life, but I’m not going to miss out on those things because I am afraid,” her sister remembered her saying.
At any moment, especially in hazardous driving conditions, accidents can happen in a split second, but they can change lives forever. My condolences to Aurora’s family and friends.